Council hears updates on projects

Farmington Ward II Councilman John Crouch, left, and Tim Porter, director of development services, look over an item on the agenda before the start of the Farmington City Council meeting on Thursday. 

Shawnna Robinson, Daily Journal

The Farmington City Council heard updates on two projects during the regular meeting on Thursday.

Vanessa Pegram, representing Ward IV, introduced Parks and Recreation Director Chris Conway during her committee report. Conway spoke on the archery course under construction at the city landfill off Pimville Road.

The course features 15 ranges of varying degrees of difficulty using the area’s topography and woodland and is located along more than one-half mile of mulched trail. The course will feature 15 fiber board targets and one broadhead target.

The estimated cost of the project is $6,650.

Conway also spoke on the outdoor amphitheater project — presenting the first renderings of a possible amphitheater for Engler Park.

He noted the construction of an amphitheater is the final piece of the 2010 comprehensive plan of the city. Other notable projects since completed include a disc golf course, dog park and archery range.

Conway said the city is submitting an application for a grant through the Land & Water Conservation Fund — a 50-50 matching grant program established by the Land Water Conservation Act in 1965. He said the city is filing for the maximum amount, which is $250,000.

The grant will be submitted on Wednesday. The engineer's cost estimate for the project is $568,354 for the first phase.

Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers said Ward II Councilman Dale Wright helped to accelerate the project and added the original concept plans for the park included the amphitheater as well.

“We decided to go ahead and take the step of getting a preliminary design and budget put together,” he said, “apply for a Land and Water Conservation Grant and see if we can bring that to fruition. I think there is a lot of opportunity for us to use that for some concert programming, kids’ programming, outdoor theater … there’s just about anything you can imagine that we can use that for.”

Read more about the project in upcoming editions of the Farmington Press and Daily Journal.

Farmington Mayor Larry Forsythe began the meeting addressing feedback from residents regarding high utility bills this month

According to Public Works Director Larry Lacy, there were two factors playing into the recent bill cycle.

Lacy said the laptop the readings were loaded on crashed.

“The vendor that was helping us had to bring down a new laptop, refresh software, no readings,” he said after the meeting. “The readings had to be taken again.

“They are accurate readings— just a week later than what they were expecting. The city had a problem and corrected the problem.”

Add to that was the fact the temperatures were below normal for the time period.

“Just by adding the extra week alone, you’re adding an extra 25 percent,” Lacy said.

Beavers said employees in the utility office will work with those whose bill is higher than normal.

“Important things to know is our utility office will, obviously, work with you if that bill is a struggle for you to pay,” he said. “You can come in and talk to one of our utility clerks in the office and work out a payment plan for you and we can distribute that out across a few months to help you get caught up.”

He also said customers can look into the city’s budget billing, which takes an average of the costs from the prior year. Customers then pay that fixed amount throughout the year.

In other business, the council held a public hearing on a proposed amendment to clean up a classification of zoning districts. The second public hearing is an application for a final record plat for property at 806 W. Columbia St. submitted by the city on Farmington on behalf of Chris and Alison Sprung.

Tim Porter, director of development services, explained the city reached an agreement with the couple for acquisition of property for the widening of Boyce Street. City ordinance requires the boundary adjustment for the acquisition to be a final record plat.

A first reading by title only was held on both matters during regular session.

Council approved an ordinance approving and accepting dedication of a sewer easement for sewer utilities with MCP-Farmington, LLC. Consent agenda items approved by council included a warranty deed to the Farmington IDA for lot 10 Farmington Industrial Park Amended Plat 4; a resolution for the city to renew and ratify a contract for independent emergency call dispatching with the St. Francois County Joint Communication Commission, a resolution appointing members for the Maple Valley CID Board as well as a resolution for an Architectural Preservation Grant Agreement with Clinton B. Roberts for property at 20 W. Columbia St.

Beavers highlighted the number of improvements projects in downtown Farmington made possible through the grant agreement program. Read more about those projects in the Feb. 15 edition of the Farmington Press.

The council next meets in regular session on Feb. 26.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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